Batavia High School celebrated their 139th annual graduation commencement yesterday for the first time at the newly rebuilt Van Detta Stadium that was completed in the fall of 2019 and were welcomed by Principal Paul D. Kesler.
"The Star-Spangled Banner" was sung by seniors Ariana deSa eFrias, Laura Lepkowski, Kathryn Fitzpatrick and Kayla Stone.
Superintendent of Schools Anibal Soler's opening remarks highlighted the challenging, ever-changing school year in which students were able to participate in sports, musicals, and many activities for seniors like prom and Summerfest. They returned to school five days a week in the last quarter of the academic year to see their friends in person or through Google Meet.
"The first senior class in our lifetimes to go the entire school year in a pandemic, take your resilience, your perseverance and your determination from this past year and go make a difference in this world," Solar said. "The sky is truly the limit. Congratulations to the Class of 2021!"
Commencement guest speaker and social studies teacher Timothy J. Stevens then gave his message to the graduates. He has three words for the Class of 2021 -- perseverance, resiliency and grit.
Focusing on grit, Stevens emphasized how this senior class showed up the beginning of the school year in person or through remote learning. They refused to accept that school sports might be cancelled along with other activities, and continued to sharpen their skills academically, staying committed inside and outside school.
"That's the lesson in grit that you learned and modeled for all of us this past year," Stevens said, as he shared his personal story and challenged the Class of 2021 to continue to have daily gratitude and show grit going forward and in years to come.
Valedictorian Kameron N. Kuszlyk (co-mayor) who participated in many student body government clubs, addressed the Class of 2021 by noting takeaways from the last four years of challenges and hindrances.
"The last year and a half -- we would not let it defeat us and perseverance would prevail and lessons (would be) learned," Kameron said. "As a community of students in a pandemic we found new ways to deal with the new school system, connecting and supporting each other through to the end. I see leaders, adventurers and friends who are willing to push themselves to achieve greatness.
"Thank you to all parents, administrators, teachers and coaches who devoted their time to our development as scholars, athletes, artists and musicians."
Salutatorian and Mr. Batavia 2021 Faraz Idrees, spoke to the senior class about being a student from eighth grade to their senior year and how many challenges and obstacles were overturned. He highlighted activities that the class was able to participate in, traditions toward the last few months of school before graduating.
"We all started off at different locations with a different means of reaching our final destination," Faraz said. "Some may have had more bumps and bruises along the way but in the end, we were able to reach the same destination."
To view the complete photo album, click here.
Photos by Steve Ognibene Photography.
Principal Paul D. Kesler
Singers Ariana deSa eFrias, Laura Lepkowski
Singers Kathryn Fitzpatrick, Kayla Stone
Superintendent of Schools Anibal Soler
Commencement Guest Speaker Timothy J. Stevens
Valedictorian Kameron N. Kuszlyk (co-mayor)
Salutatorian and Mr. Batavia 2021, Faraz Idrees